To my mind
FOLLOWING THE PAST two weeks’ massive downpours, the gaping potholes that have transformed regular car trips in and around Johannesburg into an off-road obstacle course have become an even more popular topic than the carnage on the markets. Though there’s consensus among analysts about the causes of the carnage – most blame falls on the world’s largest economies – not even the 2 500 delegates to the recent World Economic Forum in Davos could offer advice on how to turn this dismal state of affairs around.
But in South Africa we have people like Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general of the ANC, who not only delineates certain problems with which this country is grappling but also declares how the ANC is going to solve said problems after the election. Thus far, precious little provision has been made for maintenance, Mantashe informed a group of media people this week. The state of infrastructure, such as the railways and transport, is important to the ANC, he assured them. Likewise, management of SA’s water supply.
Not a word about the ANC’s inability to spend maintenance and other budget allocations, or about the monotonous regularity with which most Government departments are the subjects of qualified audits. Nor the fact that the deterioration of water sources – which has already made cholera a bleak reality – has been taking place under supervision of the very same ANC which, after the election, is going to remove potholes on the road to wealth for all.
About this country’s economic prospects, Mantashe also has no misgivings. Without mincing words, he reassured any doubting Thomases that SA would weather the current global economic storm and would certainly not experience negative growth. Would that the countless economists struggling with predictions about SA’s economy had his sort of absolute certainty and financial insight!
Inflation targets, said Mantashe, can’t be allowed to stand in the way of this country’s developmental needs. One would have expected a more circumspect approach amid the inflation fiasco of around hundreds of millions percent which has already wiped out most of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Criticism about ANC cadres’ appointment to senior public service posts he dismissed with a comparison to the United States, where all Bush supporters were ousted following Barack Obama’s Presidential election victory. However, comparisons with America’s new leader are grossly inappropriate – not only because of Obama’s appointment of Republicans to key posts but especially since Jacob Zuma, the ANC’s presidential candidate – whose praises were again sung by Mantashe on the eve of his 38th court appearance – is so clearly Obama’s inferior in all spheres: especially intellectually, morally and as a statesman.
Faced with such a depressing contrast one clutches at any available straw – such as the Eastern Cape High Court verdict, which has declared the ANC’s nepotism illegal. Perhaps it could help some key public service posts be filled according to merit, which would somewhat increase the possibility of providing effective service.